Thursday, July 16, 2009

It's Re-Post Day!

Since it's a day for reposting an oldy-but-goody, I thought my first would's from November 2008, when I started my blog.

Perfection or Completeness...

Sometimes, in an artist's life, perfection rears its ugly head.
It appears to most of us at one time or another in our lives, and to an artist, it can be just as paralyzing. Some of us refer to it as the "P" word...It keeps us from accomplishing anything, before we even begin. The whispering spectre of our Inner Critic convinces us that if we aren't going to do things without blemish, then those endeavors are worthless: "Why try? What will others think? Someone will point out that mistake or omission, and what will you say? Stick to what you do well, so you won't look foolish..."The whispers continue endlessly, don't they?
Until you leave the easel, the studio, walk away from the worktable, the music, the sewing machine, put the pen down. Sometimes, you feel that's the only way to shut up the voices?
It isn't.
There are things you can do to quiet the doubts and fears, so you can find joy in creating. Try talking back. Tell your Inner Critic to check out your past successes. Tell your IC that you're going to just slop some paint around, or play imperfect music, or write some bad poems, just for the moment.
You're not going to show it to anyone, so that's not a problem. It's just for your pleasure, so it doesn't have to be scrutinized. Pick up that brush, pen, or needle and fool your IC into quieting down by not wanting perfection, but COMPLETENESS. You want to do one project to its completion. Period. It doesn't have to be Tchaikovsky or Renoir or Wang. You just want to finish it.
When you finish it, DON'T tweak it, don't make adjustments, quit FIDDLING with it!
Hang it on your wall.
Hang the sewn pocketbook. The essay. The score you composed. Frame it in a store-bought frame.
Quick! Do it now. On the wall it goes. Put your name on it.
You did it.
Now, how are you going to celebrate? Your favorite cuppa something? A nap to view your work as you doze off? A walk through a park with your head up and a smile on your face? Maybe some new supplies for your next imperfect project?
Now, you're complete.


ArtPropelled said...

These words need to be in my quote book as a reminder. Great post DJ. (I will be replying to your CCS message soon:-)

Gary Heller said...

Great DJ, I suffer from this stigma much. Sometimes I feel that if I can't be the absolute best at something, then why bother to continue. . .Then I realize that the list of artists and photographers that I think/thought are the best goes on and on seemingly endlessly. It is then I understand that there is no "best" and that it is actually the variety of styles and artistic creativity as a whole that I enjoy so much and that I can be part of that.
I also feel at times that perfection(or what we perceive to be) is boring and stressful and that I much prefer and enjoy things that are imperfect.
In the end, I try not to pick things apart and break them down, but rather go by what feels right to me.

Jean said...

Amen to that!! Thank you for sharing those words, DJ! Our inner critics sure can be picky at times. I try to remind myself of that well known saying that "every journey begins with a single step." And even those imperfect steps can lead to some amazing creations if we just keep working at it! Thanks for the encouragement to keep going!! :)

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for visiting my blog DJ - hope you will call again. I must say I really enjoyed your re-post - it is so true. I do textile art (if you were to look back in my blog you would find examples here and there) but often I get so disillusioned and want it to be better than it is - it is comforting to know that we all feel the same. Best wishes.

Wendy said...

Wonderful, WONDERFUL, DJ! I can allow the P issue to control so much in terms of creativity. I love the idea of just doing something to completion - just taking Perfectionism out of the process completely to see if I can experience more freedom and joy from the process rather than a finished project. And your suggestion to be PROUD of that accomplishment (completion), really loving yourself for having done it....golden. Thanks for this post, DJ!

Don McNulty said...

I love line drawings like this and great words to go with it . I visit one blog entitled "Progress, Not Perfection", seems like a good plan.